Kickstarter has played host to all kinds of impressive schemes, but this is a new one on us: Dr. Ken Schweller at the Bonobo Hope Great Ape Sanctuary in Iowa wants your donations to build a tablet app that will let intelligent apes talk to their human visitors through a remote-control robot. The app, titled "Bonobo Chat," will build on the interactive lexigram that the Sanctuary uses to communicate with the apes right now — basically, a whole set of simple English words are mapped to abstract symbols that the apes can build basic sentences with.
At the moment, the simians can do that much, but the doctor wants to provide the creatures with portable wireless touchscreen keyboards (read: tablets) and an app that can convert human speech back into symbols for the apes to read, facilitating two-way communication between the humans and apes. The project also calls for a remote control robot, the RoboBonobo, to let the apes play with visitors at a distance and even squirt them with a water gun. If the thought of arming apes with watery weapons doesn't put you off, you can donate at our source link. So far, the team's raised about $1,000 of its $20,000 goal. Of course, this isn't the only ape app project that needs funding.